We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Notes from “Affirming our Faith”, May 26, 2013

“Affirming our Faith 1” – Books we use

In 585 a historian writing in exile called Christians “People in the books”

The Episcopal Church choose uses several books

I.     Bible – everything necessary for salvation – everything needed is here

Episcopal church does not have one standard interpretation

1. The first English version of the Scriptures made by direct translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and the first to be printed, was the work of William Tyndale in the 15th Century. He met bitter opposition. He was accused of willfully perverting the meaning of the Scriptures, and his New Testaments were ordered to be burned as "untrue translations." He was finally betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and in October 1536, was publicly executed and burned at the stake.

2. King James, 1611

The translators who made the King James Version took into account all of these preceding versions; and comparison shows that it owes something to each of them. It kept felicitous phrases and apt expressions, from whatever source, which had stood the test of public usage. It owed most, especially in the New Testament, to Tyndale.

The King James Version had to compete with the Geneva Bible in popular use; but in the end it prevailed, and for more than two and a half centuries no other authorized translation of the Bible into English was made. The King James Version became the "Authorized Version" of the English-speaking peoples.

3. American Standard Version

Yet the King James Version had grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it apparent that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation. The task was undertaken, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American Standard Version, its variant embodying the preferences of the American scholars associated in the work, was published in 1901

4.  The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611.

In the end the decision was reached that there is need for a thorough revision of the version of 1901, which would stay as close to the Tyndale-King James tradition as it can in the light of the knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek texts and their meaning on the one hand, and our present understanding of English on the other.

In 1937, the revision was authorized by vote of the Council, which directed that the resulting version should "embody the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures, and express this meaning in English diction which is designed for use in public and private worship, and preserves those qualities which have given to the King James Version a supreme place in English literature."

Thirty-two scholars have served as members of the Committee charged with making the revision, and they secured the review and counsel of an Advisory Board of fifty representatives of the cooperating denominations. The Committee  worked in two sections, one dealing with the Old Testament and one with the New Testament. Each section has submitted its work to the scrutiny of the members of the other section; and the charter of the Committee required that all changes be agreed upon by a two-thirds vote of the total membership of the Committee. The Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published in 1946. The publication of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, was authorized by vote of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. in 1951

5. New English Bible (neb) and the Revised English Bible (reb)


The neb was completed in 1971, after a quarter  of a century of labor. It marked a new milestone in translation: it is not a revision of the King James, nor of any other version, but a brand new translation. It is a phrase-for-phrase translation. Unfortunately, sometimes the biases of the translators creep into the text. The reb follows the same pattern as the neb: excellent English, though not always faithful to the Greek and Hebrew. 


6. The New International Version was published in 1978. It may be considered a counterpart to the neb. (The neb is strictly a British product, while the niv is an international product). It is more of a phrase-for-phrase translation than a word-for-word translation. The translators were  generally more conservative than those who worked on the neb.

7. The New Revised Standard Version( NRSV) first appeared in 1989 and has received the widest acclaim and broadest support from academics and church leaders of any modern English translation. It is the only Bible translation that is as widely ecumenical  

8. Message  1993  

Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian minister, single handedly created this.  ""While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’"" 

Peterson’s parishioners simply weren’t connecting with the real meaning of the words and the relevance of the New Testament for their own lives. So he began to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original ancient Greek—writing straight out of the Greek text without looking at other English translations. As he shared his version of Galatians with them, they quit stirring their coffee and started catching Paul’s passion and excitement as he wrote to a group of Christians whom he was guiding in the ways of Jesus Christ. For more than two years, Peterson devoted all his efforts to The Message New Testament. His primary goal was to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English.

Here is the 23rd Psalm from several of the Bibles above

1.      NRSV

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;[a]

3     he restores my soul.[b] He leads me in right paths[c]     for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]     I fear no evil;

for you are with me;     your rod and your staff—     they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me     in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

6 Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me     all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord     my whole life long.


King James 

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever


1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths     for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk    through the darkest valley,[a]

I will fear no evil,   for you are with me; your rod and your staff,

 they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me     all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


The Message

1-3 God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.

You have bedded me down in lush meadows,   you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word,  you let me catch my breath   and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through     Death Valley,

I’m not afraid     when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook

    makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner     right in front of my enemies.

You revive my drooping head;     my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me     every day of my life.

I’m back home in the house of God     for the rest of my life

II.                Lectionary – 3 year cycle

The Church year starts in Advent and readings concentrate on a book from the Gospel

Year A – 2011 – concnetrates on Matthew

Year B – 2012  concentrates on Mark

Year C – 2013 – concentrates on Luke

Readings from Jon are interspersed in Lent and Easter, mainly

It spares the preacher from having to choose the readings

Lectionary readings are Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament and Gospel

III.             Colors 

Each church season has its own set of special colors signifying special events and celebrations. You will find these colors in our altar linens and clergy vestments to underscore the season and accentuate our worship.

Purple, or Blue, is used during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Purple is a penitential color which is sometimes used for burials.

White, or Gold, is used at Christmas,  Easter, Ascension tide, Transfiguration and at weddings and baptisms. The colors symbolize joy. These colors are often used now at burials to symbolize the joy of the resurrection.

Red, or Scarlet, is used at Pentecost and on Saint’s days (martyrs only). Red is also used for confirmations and ordinations. It symbolizes the "tongues of fire" of the Holy Spirit, as well as blood.

Green is used during the seasons of  Epiphany and Pentecost. It is the universal color and symbolizes creation, nature and hope.

Black is used on Good Friday. It symbolizes grief.

Calendar shows the days – Red days are feast days

IV.              Church seasons

(From A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year, by John Westerhoff)


 Advent is a time for hope, for dreaming of new possibilities, a time set aside to rethink  the ways in which we choose to live our lives.  Advent is a time of anticipation, of watching and waiting, and of transformation.


 During Christmas, we celebrate God’s coming to be with us here, to share our human nature. We celebrate because Jesus has come to live as one of us, to lead us into a new life.  Jesus will also experience suffering and death as each one of us will.   It is in the context of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we celebrate the miracle of his incarnation.


 Epiphany opens with the Feast of the Three Kings, and so we begin our season of journeying, as the wise men did.  Epiphany is the season of the longings of the human heart, the invitation to go on a journey led by God, a journey full of mystery, a journey over which we have no control, a journey which we cannot fully comprehend.  Epiphany is the season of revelation, as we become more and more aware of  the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God.  Our faith is deepened and strengthened.


 During Lent we take on risks, journeying through death toward life, entering a wilderness where both God and the evil one are present.  We open ourselves to suffering.   Lent is a time of growing into our true identities, as we accept ourselves, with all of our weaknesses and shortcomings and examine our consciences.   Through penance we open ourselves to becoming whole again, and we make amends for the damage we have done to ourselves, to others, and to creation itself.

 •Holy Week and Easter

 The story of Easter is the story of God’s victory, a time of consummation, when now and not yet come together through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  All of creation becomes new, God transforms us, and redeems the whole world.  We see that, through God’s redeeming love, we have been made saints.  God’s reign is here, is still in the process of becoming, and  has yet to be.  God is always in the process of making all things new.

 •Anything but Ordinary Time—Life in the Spirit

 After Easter,  Jesus’s ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit  to us at Pentecost, we accept responsibility for being and becoming Christ’s body in the world.  We are called by Jesus to live in community, our lives together guided not only by the example of Jesus, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As we live our lives in the Spirit, we “explore the implications of Easter and endeavor to live into our baptisms” (John Westerhoff, A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year)

V.                 Prayer Book

The Book of Common Prayer defines our identity as a church, probably more than any other tradition.


As Anglicans, we are defined by the fact that we offer a practice of common worship according to the Book of Common Prayer.  This book provides the forms that outline our practice of the Christian faith.  It is out of our common worship that our understanding of God proceeds and our ethical and moral decision-making take shape.

"Lex orandi, lex credendi" The law of prayer establishes the law of belief. The way we pray shapes what we believe.

The book has a tremendous influence on our sense of who we are as a church.

Our 1979 prayer book provides a range of options and choices to provide flexibility and freedom to adapt the liturgy to the concerns and situations of local congregations

Examples-Traditional or contemporary language. Texts of prayers to be used. The way the elements of services are structured.

The way the services are celebrated will vary enormously from church to church.

The Book of Common Prayer is more than the words inside.  The texts and directions for ordering worship point to a living tradition, a distinct way of being Christian. The prayer book’s history is the history of our self-understanding as Anglicans.

Our current prayer book is based on research into the worship of the early church and the implications of that worship on contemporary life.

Most importantly, our prayer book brings us together in a shared life, a common stance toward the mystery of God, a way of believing, a methodology for practicing the Christian faith.

Church began as a movement of small groups, met in homes, simple worship shaped by the domestic setting, church had the sense of being another society (How could the church function as another society today in the United States?)

How did it get started ?

Beginning in 313, Christianity became the state religion under Constantine, huge numbers of new converts, church architecture took shape of the Roman basilica, worship became more ceremonial, with overtones of the imperial culture. More bishops, priests and deacons became necessary. Bishops were appointed for political as well as religious reasons. Church moved toward fixed texts for prayer and worship.

4th and 5th centuries—the popes sponsored the writing of prayers and liturgical directions—One of the greatest of these was Pope Gregory the Great, who sent Augustine of Canterbury to England and the Roman liturgy became well established, along with Roman governance—overwhelming the Celtic spirituality in Britain

During this time, there was no uniformity in the rites.

 5th to the 15th century—The Middle Ages

Baptism no longer marked as a rite of passage into a distinct society. People were baptized as infants, and baptism was seen as a cleansing from original sin.

 "The ordinary Christian began to resemble a consumer of services provided by a professional religious class, while the liturgy fell entirely into the hands of those trained specifically to do it. The sacraments became the ‘possession’ of the clergy, just as the daily prayer of the church became the elaborated office of the monastic community."   (How do our practices today differ from this idea of Christian as a consumer of religious services?)

11th century—we see a shift in the Eucharist to a more literal understanding of transformation of elements into body and blood of Christ, and the focus became offering a sacrifice for sins, both for those alive and for those who had died.  This was a shift away from the earlier focus on the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus and the communal nature of the meal. Everything became distant—clergy whispered liturgy in archaic Latin, no common cup for laity, communions were infrequent, altars moved to the rear wall of churches. Priest had back to the people, daily masses were often done by priest alone.

Reformation—the reformers were troubled by the alienation of the laity from the worship of the church.

 Martin Luther—the liturgy should be conducted in the language of the people. And for Luther, as long as an element of worship was not incompatible with scripture, it could be kept.

John Calvin felt that if a tradition was not specifically commanded by scripture, it was a human invention, but he had to accept that many things had to be added on since scripture does not address directions for every conceivable element of worship. Preaching was very important in Calvin’s church.

The English reformation was more political than theological, but Henry VIII allowed only cautious changes in liturgy. Liturgy was read in English, but for the most part the medieval liturgy remained untouched.

Under Edward VI, a group of men was appointed to produce a ‘godly order of worship’ and in 1549 Parliament passed the Act of Uniformity which made the first prayer book the official order of worship.

 The radically new idea—these rites were now considered to be common prayer-


 1552—second prayer book, which leaned more toward Calvinist practice, and many of the ceremonies in the 1549 book were abolished. Instead of presence of Jesus Christ in bread and wine, Jesus is present in the heart of the believer. This book was only used for eight months, because Edward VI died and Mary Tudor, who was Roman Catholic, became queen, so everyone had to go back to being Catholic.

Three years, and then Elizabeth I came to the throne and the prayer book came back. 1559 prayer book was an attempt to make and keep peace—"a carefully considered road between extremes"

Elizabeth wanted the church to be a sign and agent of unity in England, rather than a cause for sedition and bloodshed. Instead of worrying about the privately held theological convictions of the people, she insisted on only one thing—the public practice of worship according to the Book of Common Prayer, which had its liturgical roots in the pre-Reformation church, but which was responsive to new political realities.

1604—another revision under James I

1662—under Charles II, and this is still the authorized prayer book of the Church of England.

 Sixteenth century Anglicanism was a version of the ancient pattern of Christian worship, which was characterized by simplicity and the ideal of common prayer, a rhythm of daily praying with psalms and scripture, and Eucharistic worship on the Lord’s Day.

‘To be Anglican is to be shaped by a tradition of worship, one that takes seriously not only gifts from the past, but the experience of contemporary people and the challenges they face."

 "The church is in some sense the ongoing self-expression of the body of Christ."

Our worship is sacramental, affirms that God has entered history and continues to act within human lives. Incarnation of Christ is an ongoing reality -Christians participate in it through the sacramental life of the church.

The Prayer book became adapted to the US after the Revolution:

1789 – First American Prayer Book

1892 – Revision

1928 – Revision

1979 – Current prayer book



Major Parts of the American Prayer Book 1979 

1 The Daily Office 

Daily Morning Prayer: Rite One   37

Daily Evening Prayer: Rite One   61

Daily Morning Prayer: Rite Two   75

Noonday Prayer   103

Order of Worship for the Evening   108

Daily Evening Prayer: Rite Two   115

Compline   127

Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families    137  

Table of Suggested Canticles   144

The Great Litany   148

2 The Collects: Traditional  

Seasons of the Year   159  

Holy Days   185  

Common of Saints   195  

Various Occasions   199

3 The Collects: Contemporary 

Seasons of the Year   211  

Holy Days   237  

Common of Saints   246  

Various Occasions   251

4 Proper Liturgies for Special Days 

Ash Wednesday   264

Palm Sunday   270  

Maundy Thursday   274  

Good Friday   276  

Holy Saturday   283

The Great Vigil of Easter   285

Holy Baptism   299

The Holy Eucharist 

An Exhortation   316  

A Penitential Order: Rite One   319  

The Holy Eucharist: Rite One   323

A Penitential Order: Rite Two   351  

The Holy Eucharist: Rite Two   355  

Prayers of the People   383  

Communion under Special Circumstances   396

An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist 400

5. Pastoral Offices 

Confirmation   413  

A Form of Commitment to Christian Service   420

Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage   423  

The Blessing of a Civil Marriage   433  

An Order for Marriage   435

Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child   439

Reconciliation of a Penitent    447

Ministration to the Sick    453

Ministration at the Time of Death   462

Burial of the Dead: Rite One    469

Burial of the Dead: Rite Two    491 

An Order for Burial   506

6. Episcopal Services 

Ordination of a Bishop   511

Ordination of a Priest    525

Ordination of a Deacon    537

Litany for Ordinations   548

Celebration of a New Ministry   557

Consecration of a Church or Chapel   567

7. The Psalter, or Psalms of David  585

   Psalms 1 – 75

   Psalms 76 – 150

8. Prayers and Thanksgivings   810

9. An Outline of the Faith, or Catechism    845

10. Historical Documents of the Church   864 

(including the Articles of Religion)  


11. Tables for Finding the Date of Easter and other Holy Days   880 

12. The Lectionary   888  

Year A   889  

Year B   900  

Year C   911  

13. Holy Days   921  

14. Common of Saints   925  

15. Various Occasions   927  


16. Daily Office Lectionary   934  

17. Seasons of the Year   936  

18. Holy Days   996  

19. Special Occasions   1000

There are other volumes

1 Book of Occasional Services 

2 Oxford Commentary on the Book of Common  Prayer

3 Prayer books from other countries. New Zealand Prayer Book has become popular

4 Other Eucharistic liturgies – Understanding Our Worship

VI.              Hymnal


1 The Hymn Book 1982 


It is one in a series of 7 official hymnals of the Episcopal Church, including The Hymnal 1940. Unlike many Anglican churches (including the Church of England) the Episcopal Church requires that the words of hymns be from officially approved sources, making the official hymnals perhaps more important than their counterparts elsewhere. 

The Hymnal 1940 was originally compiled with input from the Joint Commission on Church Music of the Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1919.

The Hymnal 1982 was put together based on the Joint Commission’s work by the Standing Commission on Church Music. The Hymnal 1982 had a much expanded service music and chant section, which became necessary with the introduction of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer

Hymns are set up based on the church year. In the back is a topical index

2.      2. Lift Every Voice and Sing  (LEVAS), 1993 – This popular collection of 280 musical pieces from both the African American and Gospel traditions has been compiled under the supervision of the Office of Black Ministries of the Episcopal Church. It includes service music and several psalm settings in addition to the Negro spirituals, gospel songs, and hymns. Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer was the General Editor of Lift Every Voice and Sing II and a frequent dynamic workshop leader about African American hymnody.

3.      3. Wonder Love and Praise, 1997

This second supplement to The Hymnal 1982 is an eclectic collection of two hundred hymns, songs, and spiritual songs including a large selection of service music and devotional pieces. There are additional hymns for Advent, Holy Week, Baptism, Ordinations, and Funerals as well as for healing, mission, unity, and peace. There are a dozen bilingual hymns and another dozen from Lift Every Voice and Sing II. The service music section contains twenty-nine new canticle settings including six Glorias, two Te Deums, A Song of Wisdom and A Song of Pilgrimage from Supplemental Liturgical Materials. There are two sets of Gospel Acclamations based on hymn tunes for the seasons of Easter and Epiphany. In addition there are twenty-nine selections of other liturgical and devotional music that includes table graces, rounds, acclamations, and selections of Music from Taize

There are aids in choosing the Sunday music – Liturgical Music